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Commuters Urged To Only Travel By Train If Absolutely Necessary As Mainland Strike Action Looms

South Western Railway (SWR) is urging customers using its mainland rail services to only travel by train if 'absolutely necessary' between 18-21 August — due to planned industrial action.

Staff at Network Rail and more than 2,100 SWR members are set to take strike action on Thursday 18 and Saturday 20 August.

Customers are being told to expect severe disruption on the network during this period, with the exception of Island Line services, which are not subject to strike action.

South Western Railway services are used by many Islanders commuting to the mainland for work purposes or other means. The travel firm says if you must travel across the mainland on any of those days, you should seek to do so by other means. 

SWR has published its strike days service levels for Thursday 18 August and Saturday 20 August, which will provide a severely reduced service on the routes Network Rail has made available.  

Significant parts of the network will be closed entirely and those trains that are running will be far less frequent and much busier compared to normal. 

Due to the impact of the strike days, customers are also urged only to travel if absolutely necessary on Friday 19 and Sunday 21 August, when first trains will start much later than usual across the network and are likely to be very busy.   

Network Rail will provide contingency cover for critical roles including electrical control room operators, signallers, maintenance, and response teams, but will not be able to cover the whole day. 

SWR’s reduced timetable will run from 07:15 to 18:30 on the 18 and 20 August strike days, and will consist of:  

  • Four trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside via Hounslow 
  • Two semi-fast trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Basingstoke 
  • Four trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Woking 
  • Two fast trains per hour in each direction between London Waterloo and Southampton Central 

Trains will not stop at all the stations on these routes. There will be no SWR services across the rest of the network. 

TfL Underground and Overground services will be affected by strikes all day on Friday 19 August, with some bus services disrupted on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 August. Connections with SWR services in London are likely to be impacted, or not run at all. 

SWR will not be affected by the planned ASLEF strike action on Saturday 13 August, but some other train companies will be, so customers should check before they travel.    

South Western Railway’s Commercial Director, Peter Williams, said:  

“Please only travel if absolutely necessary between Thursday 18 and Sunday 21 August as strike action will severely impact our services. Those who must travel are urged to carefully check the times of first and last trains and seek alternative means of travel. 

“The scale of the action will be incredibly disruptive for our customers with large parts of our network closed on strike days and a late start up on the morning after each strike day. First trains will run much later than usual and are likely to be very busy, so please travel later in the day if you can.  

“We are sorry that strikes will again cause such disruption. We are grateful to our customers for their continued cooperation, patience, and understanding as the rail industry works to bring this damaging nationwide strike action to an end.” 

Customers are urged to check the SWR website for latest information here